Hope Discovery for the Day:
God does not reveal our sin to condemn us, but to revive us!
Scriptures of the Day:
“Then we will not turn away from you. Revive us and we will pray to you! O LORD God, invincible warrior, restore us! Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!”
30 “Therefore I will judge each person according to his conduct, O house of Israel, declares the sovereign LORD. Repent and turn from all your wickedness; then it will not be an obstacle leading to iniquity.
31 Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why should you die, O house of Israel?”
The road to the land of lukewarm spirituality is well paved by many who have traveled it. It is easy to become comfortable or complacent. What is not so easy is recognizing it and getting ourselves out of our lackadaisical existence. We can look at the example of the Israelites and judge them for being so double-minded, for worshipping false idols, but perhaps the apple does not fall too far from the tree . . . maybe we are not so unlike them after all.
There are many hindrances to seeing our need for revival. We can forget how desperately we needed His salvation. We begin to think our new status was who we were, all along. Or maybe we have traveled further down the road to reject or rebel the One Who saved us. It does not have to be utter rebellion that keeps us from a continual revival in our hearts. The enemy succeeds if he just makes us comfortable enough that we do not seek after God or to make God’s great salvation known. If the enemy can occupy ourselves with ourselves, we don’t have time to attend to spiritual matters.
Unless we call on the only One who can revive us, we will forever stay in the cycle of guilt and condemnation, living a fruitless life. This is not how God wanted our relationship with Him to be. He wants to have us continually flourishing, abiding in Him, constantly putting to death sin in our lives so we can see clearly to be able to help others, too.
So just Who are we asking to help us get out of the stupor that we are in? Our Invincible Warrior! This title alone exudes confidence. God is All-Powerful and can help us to overcome ourselves. Being invincible means He does not stop – it speaks to us of His enablement for us to persevere. Warrior reminds us that this spiritual walk is a fight. The righteousness he fought to give us should be protected. We, too, must fight the tide of complacency that pulls us down and seek to stir our fervor for God. But how?
Sin is deceitful, and our own hearts are deceitful, beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9). How in the world can we recognize it? We can ask God to help us (Psalm 139:24 “See if there is any offensive way in me”). When we see sin in us, that is a kindness – not for accusation or condemnation – how blessed that we can see! God does not reveal our sin to condemn us, but to free us! Sometimes we have to recognize that the “smaller specks in our own eyes” are just as important as the larger planks we think we see. Gossip, dissension, unkind thoughts – these are all from the devil just like murder, adultery and hatred are. We also need to avoid rationalizing away our sin and accepting compromise in our lives. God’s standard cannot be minimized.
Reflect and think on the day you saw your need of Christ. What did it feel like? Recalling what God has done for us helps us to remember our need of Him and the high price for our salvation. It can serve as a motivator to help us get our of our spiritual lethargy. Getting into God’s Word to find Scriptures assures victory and will help us to remember His promises when we are tempted to remain in our sin.
Repentance is not just saying “I’m sorry”. It requires us to turn away from the behavior that is so offensive to a Holy God (Rev. 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place”). Sometimes pride can numb our desire to repent. We rationalize and think we are not all that bad when we compare ourselves by ourselves. But looking to a perfect God, in humility we can only see our shortcomings on a daily basis. How amazing that God accepts us when we come and repent!
This turning away from lifestyle or choices is really hard, especially when it is by degrees. We have to pay attention and have set before us the goal Christ has for us. When we turn away from sin, we must also turn toward the pursuit of righteousness.
Oh God, revive our land and let it begin with each one of us. May we not tolerate sin within our own hearts, our homes, our churches . . . everywhere you have granted us influence, may we use that influence to help set people free from bondage not to permit sinfulness.